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May 2024

New Special Edition

The Periodical Overtures in 8 Parts

… is a remarkable series of sixty-one orchestral symphonies published in London by Robert Bremner between 1763 and 1783. In essence, it was a “symphony-of-the-month” publication over this twenty-year period, capturing the musical tastes of London during the era’s “rage for music.” Bremner was inspired to undertake the series after witnessing the success on the Continent of similar French periodical prints. In England, however, Bremner’s series went unrivaled for a decade, and no other later British publisher came close to matching his success with this periodical format.

From the start, Bremner promised to issue works that had never been printed in Britain and that were composed by “the most celebrated Authors.” He honored both of those commitments, and by 1783, the Periodical Overtures represented some twenty-eight well-regarded composers from across Europe. To accommodate smaller orchestras, the symphonies usually were limited to eight parts, representing first and second violins, viola, bass, a pair of oboes, and a pair of horns, although a few additional instruments began appearing in various issues as British ensembles grew more ambitious. Bremner also catered to a generally conservative British taste by adding figured bass if it were not already present and sometimes reducing the number of movements to three. The works were widely performed, appearing in the records of concert organizations in England, Scotland, and even in the American colonies. Late in the century, several of the most popular issues were arranged for keyboard, reflecting not only the increasing number of pianos in private homes, but also the Periodical Overtures’ staying power.

The objective of these Periodical Overtures Editions in the “Repertoire Explorer” series is to make this unique collection of orchestral works easily accessible and affordable. The music has been edited with a light touch, preserving the authenticity of Bremner’s original prints. Copyist errors have been corrected and notation has been standardized to meet modern conventions, along with the addition of bar numbers, rehearsal letters, and instrumental cues to facilitate performance. Horn parts in F are provided, along with parts in the symphony’s original key. Each score includes a short background and analytical essay along with a summary of the editorial approaches and changes. The Periodical Overtures Editions enrich the repertoire available to chamber orchestras, professional and amateur alike, providing them with valuable historical and musical insights as well as much delightful music-making, a great deal of which is unknown to contemporary audiences and performers.

> Historical Background & Catalogue

We recommend this month


Bax, Arnold
Symphony No. 4

(b. Streatham/London, 8 November 1883 – d. Cork/Irland, 3 October 1953)


I Allegro moderato (p. 1) – Moderato (p. 16) – Tempo primo, moderato (p. 24)
Tempo moderato (p. 40) – Allegretto semplice (p. 45) – Tempo moderato (p. 52) –
Molto moderato (p. 55) – Poco animato (p. 64) – Più mosso (p. 68) – Molto largamente (p. 72)
II Lento moderato (p. 74) – Più mosso, Allegro moderato (p. 95) – Stretto (p. 98) –
Tempo primo (p. 103)
III Allegro (p. 108) – Poco meno (p. 130) – Allegro scherzando (p. 136) –
Tempo di Marcia trionfale. Un pocchettino più sostenuto (p. 146) – Più largamente (p. 148) –
Vivo (p. 150)

Arnold Bax grew up in very well-off circumstances and enjoyed a rather liberal and fundamentally artistic upbringing. From 1893, the family moved into the idyllic parkland grounds of Ivy Bank in Hampstead High Street, a true “island of the blessed” on the periphery of cosmopolitan restlessness. The dreamy element in his psyche, feverishly longing to escape the everyday and often leaning out blindly and ignoring danger, which was a prominent character trait, is probably rooted in this family seclusion, which took little notice of the brittle outside world. The world of dreams could expand almost endlessly here, and a creatively open-minded young person like Arnold found material for life in these dreams, which actually sufficed for almost an entire lifetime. His material circumstances were so generous that he never had to worry about earning an income, and so he almost never worked as a teacher. His younger brother Clifford made a name for himself as a respected poet for his time, while Arnold showed eminent musical talent.
From September 1900, he attended the Royal Academy of Music – the more progressive of the two London institutions (the Royal College of Music, which was founded later, had the more renowned teachers with the Brahms epigone Stanford and Hubert Parry – Ralph Vaughan Williams, Bax’s important colleague and friend, had studied there). He studied composition with the Lisztian Frederick Corder and quickly gained a reputation as London’s best sight-reading pianist, even for the most complicated orchestral scores. He practiced four-handed playing just as intensively with his friends, most of whom remained close to him for the rest of his life, and they enthusiastically inhaled everything they could get their hands on – the latest French, Russian and German works. All conceivable musical influences were present in his daily practice. …


Stamitz, Johann
The Periodical Overture in 8 parts No. 3, Sinfonia Pastorale (edited by Barnaby Priest and Alyson McLamore, new print)

Published by Robert Bremner at the Harp and Hautboy, opposite Somerset-House, in the Strand Issued: 31 August 1763; price 2 shillings
Source: Henry Watson Music Library – Courtesy of Manchester Libraries, Information and Archives, Manchester City Council: BR580St3
Editors: Barnaby Priest & Alyson McLamore

Although the first two issues in the Periodical Overture series reflected composers trained in the Italian operatic tradition, Robert Bremner (c.1713– 1789) turned to a leading member of the Mannheim School of orchestral music for his third publication, the “Sinfonia Pastorale” by Johann Stamitz (1717–1757). Stamitz had moved to Mannheim from his native Bohemia around 1741, joining the court ensemble as a violinist. On the last day of 1742, Elector Carl Philipp died, and his successor, Carl Theodor, proved to be a generous patron of the arts. Within three years, Stamitz was earning 900 gulden, making him the highest-paid instrumentalist in the Mannheim court, and in 1750, a new post was created for him: “Director of Instrumental Music.”1

The international reputation of the Mannheim orchestra soon soared, celebrated for its precision and exciting dynamic effects. Even after Stamitz’s death, the ensemble maintained its stellar reputation for decades. In 1772, Charles Burney famously described the ensemble as “an army of generals, equally fit to plan a battle, as to fight it,” since its membership included “more solo players and good composers . . . than perhaps in any other orchestra in Europe.”2 Indeed, several other members of the ensemble were represented in Bremner’s series, and some of them had been Stamitz’s former composition students, such as Christian Cannabich (1731–1798), Anton Fils (1733–1760), and Ignaz Fränzl (1736–1811).3

Kasberg Evensen, Bernt
Elegia for clarinet and string orchestra (first print / score & parts)

(b. Tønsberg, 2. February 1944)


Date and players of first performance: unknown

Kasberg Evensen is, essentially, self-taught as a composer.
He has travelled widely and has lived and worked in several countries in the course of his life: Mexico, Scotland, Germany and, of course, Norway.
Evensen has, by and large, lived a life of service, always putting the welfare of others (family, friends and associates) before any concern for his own success. His years in Scotland established his competence and passion for working with the disabled and with psychiatric patients, as well as his close association to the Camphill and Anthroposophist philosophy and community, which continues to this day.
Evensen is also an excellent baritone singer and has performed extensively as such. He is almost certainly the only singer to have performed Schubert’s Winterreise and Pettersson’s Barfotasånger side by side. A very moving performance of the latter (from November
2014) can be enjoyed on YouTube.
All the same, he knew that composition was his true vocation from a very early age. The Norwegian Music Information data base lists over 100 works by Evensen in many genres: symphonic, chamber, vocal, stage music, music for children…
For many years Evensen worked closely with the School Concert Department of the Norwegian Concert Institute (Rikskonsertene). This prompted him to compose several musical fairytales, which he performed at schools throughout Norway between 1976 and 1988.
His concert music includes some of the most fascinating material written by any composer in Norway.
Evensen has a very personal and unique tonal language. He has a keen awareness of the intrinsic tension of intervals and, although his music is often harmonically and contrapuntally complex, rare is the composition where he does not include one or several unison passages …

Hegar, Friedrich
Cello Concerto Op. 44

(b. Basel, 11 October 1841 – d. Zurich, 2 June 1927)

Friedrich Hegar was a Swiss composer and conductor born in 1841. Hegar stands out as a true visionary and master of his craft. As we delve into the life and works of this exceptional composer, we will explore his influences, his unique contributions to the world of music, and the lasting impact he has left on the musical landscape.

Friedrich Hegar demonstrated a remarkable aptitude for music from an early age. He received his education at the Zurich Conservatory, where he honed his skills as a violinist, conductor, and composer. Hegar’s early exposure to the works of classical masters such as Beethoven and Mozart greatly influenced his style and approach to composition. These foundational influences, combined with his own unique perspective, would shape Hegar’s distinctive musical voice. Hegar’s wide range of musical compositions includes symphonies, concertos, chamber music, and choral works. His symphonies are known for their deeply expressive melodies, intricate harmonies, and meticulous attention to detail. One of his most renowned symphonies, Symphony No. 1 in D minor, showcases his ability to blend classical forms seamlessly with a distinctive Romantic sensibility. In addition to his symphonic works, Hegar excelled in composing concertos that showcased his virtuosic instrumental skills. For instance, his Concerto for Violin and Orchestra in E minor is a testament to his technical brilliance and deep understanding of the instrument. Hegar’s richly woven orchestration and breathtaking melodic lines make this concerto an awe-inspiring experience. …

Reuss, August
Zwei Melodramen Op. 21 for orchestra after 2 poems of Heinrich Heine (Seegespenst & Berg-Idylle)

(b. Znaim [now Znojmo, Czech Republic], 6 March 1871 – d. Munich, 18 June 1935)

August Reuss was born in March of 1871, in Liliendorf, Moravia. His father worked as a contractor for a railway company’ however, he had a strong interest in the arts, especially music, because his father was an organ player and teacher. Reuss went to school in Ingolstadt and high school in Augsburg, also joining his father at work. Due to his father’s early death, Reuss was forced to take his role in the company. In his spare time, Reuss was still very dedicated to the arts, developing a love for painting and poetry. He also studied music as a self-taught composer in the hopes that he might be able to fulfill his desires of composing and making a life out of music.

In the year 1899, Reuss began studying music, he met Ludwig Thuille. Thuille succeeded his own professor, Joseph Gabriel Rheinberger, as the professor of piano and harmony at the Royal Music School of Munich. He was one of the most respected and appreciated teachers during that time. In his studio, he had Ernest Bloch and Walter Courvoisier as students, as well as others who would become professional composers in their own right. Even though Reuss proved himself to be a very qualified musician, his career did not reflect this. …


Donizetti, Gaetano 
Anna Bolena, opera in 2 acts (full opera score in 2 volumes with Italian libretto)

Composed: November-December 1830
Librettist: Felice Romani (1788-1865)
Premiere: Teatro Carcano, Milan, 26 December 1830
Publications: Milan: G. Ricordi ,1831 & reissued in 1910. Full score, plate 129610.
Piano reduction by Luigi Truzzi, plates 1531-1542. Offstage Banda score (Act II finale), plate 129612, for 2 flutes, 2 clarinets, 2 horns, 2 trumpets, 3 trombones, tuba. French piano-vocal score
translated by Castil-Blaze, Paris: Aulangnier, 1838.

Anna Bolena was commissioned by a group of aristocrats who were fed up with the way La Scala was being run. The work was planned to open the Carnival season on December 26, 1830 (a great honor), featuring two leading singers: tenor Giovanni Batista Rubini and soprano Guiditta Pasta, as whose houseguest Donizetti composed the score. The librettist missed his September deadline, finishing the complete text on November 10. A contemporary of Rossini (who retired early) and Bellini (who died tragically young), he wrote quickly, remarking, “Rossini wrote The Barber of Seville in thirteen days? Ah! He always was a lazy fellow!”

The opera went on to be performed in more than two dozen European houses, London (1831), New Orleans (in French, 1839), and New York City (in Italian, 1850). Influential recordings include Maria Callas (La Scala, 1957), Beverly Sills (London Symphony Orchestra, 1972), and Joan Sutherland (Welsh National Opera, 1987). After the successful premieres of Anna Bolena and the comedy L’elisir d’amore, Donizetti’s teacher Johann Simon Mayr began to address his former pupil as “Maestro.” Bel canto singing was evolving during the 1830s, and singers were transforming from experts in the light, flexible style required by Mozart, Bellini, and Rossini to heavier, more heroic voices. Donizetti’s mature music is gorgeous and variegated, seamlessly changing tone from light to dark, and departing from earlier models. …

Scores in preparations May 2024

Fairchild, Blair
Légende Op.31

Wieniawski, Henri
Suite romantique pour orchestre

Strauss, Richard
Kampf und Sieg

Reger, Max

Zilcher, Hermann
Suite für 2 Violinen und Orchester, Op. 15

Götz, Hermann
Der 137. Psalm Op. 14

Montemezzi, Italo
L’amore dei tre re

Grieg, Edvard
Sigurd Jorsalfar, Op. 22

Prokofiev, Sergei
Ivan the Terrible Op. 116, oratorio

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